Reading in Jail

Mississippi Prison Sued for Restricting Inmates’ Access to Free Books

As we’re all aware, the United States prison system is a mess with no clean up in sight. If you’re disillusioned with the prison system as of current, I’m sorry to say, this article will only depress you further.


A prison in southern Mississippi and the Mississippi Department of Corrections are being sued for restricting inmates’ access to free books. Law firm DLA Piper is arguing that a relatively recent policy change at the South Mississippi Correctional Facility violates the inmates’ First Amendment rights: only religious books are freely accessible to the inmates.


Big House Books is a nonprofit that sends books and other educational materials to inmates in the Mississippi correctional system, but the prison has been marking the books “return to sender.” When questioned by the nonprofit, the facility said only religious books could be mailed for free to the inmates, while all other books should be donated to the prison library or purchased by the inmates themselves.


If you ask me, knowledge should be available to all, regardless of religious affiliation. Additionally, how much do you want to bet that in this case, “religious” means specifically “Christian”?


Featured Image via WUNC.